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Blessed Sacrament Province

150th Anniversary of CNDs in Waterbury: Just as five Congregation de Notre-Dame Sisters came from Montreal on September 8,1869, this time four CND Sisters – Ona Bessette (Waterbury Catholic HS 1973), Ercilia Ferrera Erazo (Honduras), Sophie Christine Mbougoum (Cameroon) and Jeanne Bonneau – made that same journey to be with us on September 8, 2018 for the inauguration of a year of celebration. What joyous Visitations ensued! We were so very happy that so many CND Sisters journeyed to Waterbury to participate in our CND liturgy and Meet & Greet afterwards.

A video was made of the event, and pictures were taken by a photographer from the Catholic Transcript. In addition, Eleanor Verrastro wrote an excellent description of CND presence in Waterbury these last 150 years (1869-2019). Finally, there is a video "Waterbury Visitation," that Stephanie Manseau and Marie-Claire Dugas put out this weekend featuring our Waterbury CNDs. It's wonderful! ( Ann Marie Strileckis, CND

P.S. from the Mary Annes: We are very grateful to Ann Marie, Kathleen Dorney, Pat Ells, Eleanor Verrastro, Ann Moore, Julia Lydon, Katherine DiGiulio, Ellen Lynch, Stacie van Deusen, and all the Waterbury alums and last minute helpers who made this beautiful event possible. Stay tuned for information about next year’s event: September 8, 2019!

* * * Birthday Celebrations * * *

105th: August 28, 2018 marked the 105th anniversary of the birth of Sister Marie Elaine Lachance. The day was celebrated with a cookie, cappuccino and ice cream party at Lourdes. Sr. Marylou Lyons and Sr. Joan Mahoney were the hostesses; Sister Libby Osgood provided the music with her ukulele, joined in song by all the women there. After a short prayer, the Sisters and a few Associates had one-on-one personal “visits” with Marie Elaine. The conversations seemed to be represented by the comment of Sister Jacci Glesser, the local leader of Lourdes. She said she had read to Marie Elaine her many cards the morning of her birthday. The cards led her conclude that Sister was greatly loved by the CND Sisters in Blessed Sacrament Province. Marie Elaine acknowledges and is grateful for this love. As she herself said: “I went to bed very tired and very happy.” Thanks to all who wrote to Sister and those who joined in her Birthday Celebration.

84th Birthdays!  

We celebrated the 84th Birthday of Sr. Mary Ledden a day early on September 9, 2018. We were a number of CND Sisters from the area, the Sisters at Lourdes, and lots of cake and ice cream. Mary truly enjoyed the party and was her ever-grateful self.

Associate News – Sr. Joan Mahoney & Donna Wuhrer

New Associates Celebration, Kankakee, IL

On June 10, at a Liturgy in St. John Paul II Church, Kankakee, IL, the CND community celebrated the first commitment of two new Associates, Sylvia and Ema, and the renewal of vows and associate commitments. In addition to a festive luncheon in the church hall, Fr. Sunny Castillo blessed a room that the Associates will use for their prayer shawl and other ministries. This room was refurbished by the Associates and their families. Congratulations to Ema and Sylvia and to this thriving Associate Community!

Formation News – Sr. Maco Cassetta

Last Spring was full with classes on religious life, while Libby also participated in the last months of the inter-novitiate program. We made our way to Montreal to participate in an intercultural experience with new members of the different provinces. While I found it incredibly wonderful to be with our newest members of the congregation, it’s best to have Libby share her experience herself. So below you will see her reflection.

Apart from her experience in Montreal, Libby has had several opportunities to visit the sisters and be a presence. It was gift to celebrate Marie Éliane Lachance’s 105th birthday in Wilton CT. During the last week of September, we will have an opportunity to visit our sisters in Chicago and connect with their ministries. For sure, it has been wonderful to be a part of the many mutual encounters that speak of visitation.

Libby completed her canonical year on August 26th with a week’s retreat in Linwood, NY. She has begun the second year of the novitiate, her apostolic year, and is preparing to go out on mission. Catherine Crolo Community In Toronto will be welcoming Libby in early October and she will remain there until the first week of December.

I invite you to pray for Libby as she continues her discernment. May her time in ministry and with the sisters be filled with Visitation moments and nourishing encounters.

 “This July, I spent a month in the stifling humid heat of Montreal, among remarkably warm and energetic CND sisters who have been professed for less than 5 years. It was especially nice to meet the other two novices – Regina from Cameroon and Aikyo from Japan, being able to relate and compare novitiate experiences. Lilian and Sophia came from Honduras, and our Cameroonian sisters included Suzie, Augustine, Rosine, Estelle, and Jeannette (though Jeannette is studying in Montreal these days). We were grateful to the planning team who shared everything with us during the entire experience: Agnes, Sophie, Maco, Monique, Atsuko, Sheila, and Lucie. 

The structured activities of the month included: walking in Marguerite’s footsteps in Old Montreal and Old Quebec, touring Maison St-Gabriel, volunteering in a homeless shelter and with women in distress, visiting our sisters on mission in retirement homes in Montreal, Kingston, and Quebec City, and hearing illuminating talks on interculturality (Fr. Anthony Gittins), sustainability (Kathleen Deignan, CND), the peripheries (Monica Lambton), charism (Marie-Marcelle Desmarais, CND), the evolving state of religious life (Lorraine Caza, CND), being on mission no matter where you are (Gilberte Bussière, CND), and a Q&A with the leadership team. 

We travelled from Kingston to St-Anne-de-Beaupré, car rides filled with songs and stories, and enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere of Howe Island and the bustling busy-ness of Quebec City. We played in the pool and climbed to the cross at Mont Royal. We worked together in four languages to plan prayer services and masses. We celebrated a special mass where three sisters renewed their vows. We sang and danced together in the evenings and translated songs into the four languages, so we could equally participate.

I could tell you many more things that we did, as the days were quite full, but what remains with me is how it felt to be surrounded by such loving sisters, as eager as I was to meet new lifelong companions and find ways to relate through the different cultures and languages. Though our ages spanned across 3 decades, it felt like being at summer camp and was quite hard to leave. We cooked for each other, shared hopes and heartaches, and left with a renewed sense of community. We have an app on our phones that lets us connect as a group, sharing messages of hello, hola, bonjour, and konnichiwa, continuing the bond that was built this summer.” Libby Osgood, CND Novice

Peace & Justice News – Sr. Rose Mary Sullivan

The Catholic Mobilizing Network is a national organization that mobilizes Catholics and all people of goodwill work to abolish the death penalty and to transform the U.S. criminal justice system from adversarial or punitive to restorative. Restorative justice is a way of understanding crime, and harm in all of its forms, as a violation of people and relationships rather than solely a violation of law. In assessing crime or harm, the contrast in approach triggers some difference in questions.

Adversarial                                        Restorative

What happened?                              What happened?

Who’s to blame?                               What harm resulted?

What punishment is needed?           What needs to be done to make things right?

Over the last 30 years, the United States Justice system has pursued a policy of “getting tough on crime.” The results are that currently 6.7 million adults are behind bars, on probation, or on parole. That number is the equivalent of the combined populations of Los Angeles, Chicago, and Boston! A disproportionate number of people of color are included in that figure. The United States has one of the highest incarceration rates as a country.

One way we can work towards the goal of ending the death penalty is to work for a change of our perception of justice from punitive to restorative. Such a change might also contribute to decreasing the divisiveness within our society. I suggest the following links for more ideas on restorative justice.

Centre for Justice and Reconciliation http://restorativejustice.orgThe International Institute for Restorative Practices

 Catholic Mobilizing Network

Thank You To All who supported the call in on Senate Bill 1580. The feedback from the US Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking indicates that the call in was greatly supported.




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